Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Bell's Brewery - Part 2

Last weekend I posted the first of two posts about a handful of new beers I tried from Bell's Brewery.  That one covered the Winter White Ale, the Porter, and the Pale Ale.  This installment will be all about the stouts.  Four of them, actually, all from Bell's and all beers I picked up in Gainesville a few months ago.

Numero uno... the Bell's Expedition Stout, a 10.5% abv Russian Imperial Stout.
 
Poured into a pint glass, it's dark like motor oil. There's not much head but what little there was retained well.

The aroma is chocolatey and rich. Caramel and toffee notes. Phenomenal. One of the best smelling beers I've put my nose to lately.

The flavor is rich as well and boozy. Caramel again, burnt chocolate notes and a little coffee bean bitterness at the end.  It reminds me a lot of the Goose Island Bourbon County Stout just without the vanilla bourbon notes.

The mouthfeel is thick, creamy, and boozy. Man, I'm still really blown away.  This one is one that found it's way on to my wall of fame as one of my favorite beers, and it might be the best one I've tried on the 365 in 2011 quest.
 
My Rating: A+


Second up, the Kalamazoo Stout, a lighter licorice stout coming in at 6% abv. 
 
This one pours dark with a really small head, it's not black but a dark brown.

The aroma is kinda weak really. I'm not picking up much licorice, just a standard stout aroma really. There's a little licorice on the tongue but nothing overwhelming.  Unfortunately just a middle of the road stout.

I've had better stouts. From Bell's. It's just decent to me.  Maybe it was a mistake to pick out the Expedition Stout first, but this one failed to live up to its precursor on this tasting.  (Side note, I did try all four of these stouts in one sitting...)

My Rating: C


Stout tour #3... Bell's Cherry Stout!  This one clocks in at 7% abv and is considered a fruit beer, although it clearly has a stout base. 

The appearance is dark brown with a pretty decent off-white head. This beer smells just like chocolate covered cherries. Yummy.

The flavor is dominated by stout flavors, again it's like chocolate and cherries. Not very dark or roasted, a little lighter flavor but still clearly based on a stout with the cherry flavors coming through as well.
 
It's a little thin for a stout... it's alright but doesn't impress.  I don't really feel the need for another one, again the Expedition Stout is way in the lead.

My Rating: B-



The last beer on the list...Bell's Special Double Cream Stout.  This is one of the flagships of the Bell's brand, and is a 6.1% abv stout using a blend of 10 different malts to give it a unique creamy profile.  The body of the beer is nearly black with a small lingering off-white head.

The aroma is a lot like coffee with creamer.  And I drink coffee almost every morning at work, so this is a good thing to me!

The flavor is a little more bitter than the smell but delicious. Malty and rich with a great flavor profile and dark chocolate bitterness. 

It's definitely a creamy stout... I would swear there is some lactose in there but apparently not. I can feel the creaminess on the tongue, it's very thick and very well done.

I'd definitely have another of these!

My Rating: B+

Alright, that makes 8 different beers from Bell's I've had the pleasure to try, with 7 of them coming as part of this New Year's Resolution.  My conclusion is that I'd definitely look for the Two Hearted Ale, Winter White Ale, Expedition Stout, and Special Double Cream Stout again.  The other four, while all decent, didn't impress me enough to pick them up again.